Audi car reviews Audi A3 reviews

  • NEW PRICE: £16,605 - £39,465
  • USED PRICE: From £925

The original Audi A3 was launched in September 1996, and ever since the A3 has been an effective upmarket alternative to the Volkswagen Golf. The Audi A3 remains a strong seller, offering superior refinement and build quality - for a price. Audi has broadened the A3 range, offering a saloon option as well. And of course, there is the soft-top A3 Cabriolet for those who look to drive with the wind in their hair.

Please note that certain diesel-powered versions of this car built between 2009 and 2015 may be affected by the 'dieselgate' emissions scandal. This means its engine may be more polluting than official figures suggest and could be recalled sometime in 2016. For more information, refer to our guide on how to check if your car is affected.

Latest model: Audi A3 hatchback (2012-), Audi A3 saloon (2013-), Audi A3 Cabriolet (2014-)

Pros and cons

  • Pro: High quality feel, great to drive, safe
  • Con: Steep prices, limited boot space

New Audi A3 reviews

The latest Audi A3, launched in 2013, is a very desirable premium hatchback and strong residual values reflect this. Based on the latest VW Group MQB platform, it's great to drive, with excellent handling and sharp steering. The latest engine range is also very impressive, and CO2 emissions can be very low.

Sportback (five-door) models add practicality thanks to their longer wheelbase and extra pair of doors. If you prefer saloon styling to hatchback practicality, there's an A3 for you too.

Members can view our full test results of the Audi A3 range by clicking a style below. 

Non-members can sign up for a £1 trial to get instant access to all our car test results and product reviews.


Please enable JavaScript to access this content.

Video transcript

You might think that a company that names it's cars after different size sheets of paper lacks a bit of imagination. Take a look at the new Audi A3, which is remarkably similar to the previous car and you may start to agree. But just because Audi is playing safe with the styling that doesn't mean it's latest 3 door hatch isn't an innovative machine.

It follows the firms ultra light weight designing fast and promises a double whammy of improved performance and economy. That's pretty much the pitch of its arch rival, the BMW One Series. So this A3 is going to have to be something really special if it wants to steal sales from its fellow German. Prices start at just over 19,000 pounds for a rather basic SE Spec 1.4 version.

If you want the range-topping 1.8 TFSI in S Line spec, expect to pay more than 26,000 pounds. But if you look carefully, you'll notice the chubbier Audi grill framed by LED daytime running lights and the sharp creases on the sides of the car, that run from headlights to the taillights, these give it a more macho chiseled look.

Ok, so it may not look that different on the outside but it's the things you can't see on the new A3 that are really important.

Around 80 kilograms has been shaved off the weight of this car by swapping steel for aluminum at the front end and by cutting to other components under the skin. That diet is really good news for drivers. It translates in some pretty athletic prowess The 1.8 TFSI, the car we're driving, dispenses with the 0-60 dash in just over 7 seconds.

We yet to put the A3 through our comprehensive fuel economy test, but Audi claims that the new engines would achieve between 50 and 69 mpg. that's an average of twelve percent lower than the old A3. The new chassis makes the Audi A3 feel well balanced and really good to drive on winding roads. and the Quattro four wheel drive system in this model ensures that it will stick to the road like glue.

Two gear boxes are offered, a six-speed manual and a seven-speed S Tronic. Later in 2012, Audi will introduce an eco-friendly one 1.6 diesel. This will have CO2 emissions of 99 grams and will qualify for free car tax.

Hot hatch lovers will be really pleased to hear that a powerful S version is promised further ahead while city dwellers might be interested in the electric A3. The A3's cabin is up to Audi's usual impeccable standards. There is a lot of soft touch plastics, a good feeling steering wheel and theses air vents, they seem to have been borrowed from the Audi TT.

Opt for MMI touch and you can write the address you want to get to onto the screen, one letter at a time. The SatNav then recognizes the word and set your course. If this seems too much work, you can just choose a system with voice control, with a larger wheelbase before, this A3 gives front and back seat passengers a bit more headroom.

Boot space increases too, from 350 to 365 liters that's enough for two reasonable sized suitcases.
The new Audi A3 is much more than a clean sheet of paper. Under its conservatively styled skin is a superbly well engineered car. It is more agile and faster than before. Whether it's good enough to be class leader remains to be seen.

But one things for sure, the new A3 is definitely going to give BMW and other rivals a real run for their money.

4 New Audi A3 reviews available

  • Audi A3 Sportback (2004-2013)

    A3 Sportback blue driving f3q

    New price: £17,280 - £33,585

    The second-generation Audi A3 Sportback. A five-door hatchback range, built from 2004 onwards. Better than the first generation? Which? finds out.
  • Audi A3 hatchback (2012-)


    New price: £18,315 - £35,690

    Has the latest A3 got what it takes to be the leading luxury medium hatchback?
  • Audi A3 hatchback (2003-2012)

    Audi A3 Mk26

    New price: £16,605 - £32,825

    Full review and test data for the Audi A3 three-door hatchback range, built from 2003 to 2012. Resale value alone makes it a rival to the Ford Focus.
  • Audi A3 saloon (2013-)

    2014 Audi A3 saloon 1

    New price: £22,860 - £35,280

    Audi A3 saloon (2013-) review - Which? tests the first A3 saloon available in the UK. Can it match the hatchback for practicality and performance?

Used Audi A3 reviews

Used examples of the first- and second-generation Audi A3 are very sought-after because you’ll struggle to find a small car with a similar level of quality. 

Reliability is fair, but Audi dealers don't rate too highly among owners.

Members can view our full test results of the Audi A3 range by clicking a style below.

Non-members can sign up for a £1 trial to get instant access to all our car test results and product reviews.

4 Used Audi A3 reviews available

Audi A3 Cabriolet reviews

The Audi A3 Cabriolet is the soft-top version of Audi's hatchback. It is nice to look at and will prove desirable for years to come, but it's not cheap to buy.

Audi A3 Sportback reviews

Audi A3 hatchback reviews

Audi A3 saloon reviews

The Audi A3 saloon was first revealed as a concept car at the Geneva Motor Show and its design shows how the next A3 range will look.